Even Microsoft knows that Windows Live Tiles have so much potential to be a lot better, especially on touchscreen devices. In fact, a group of the company's researchers in Asia have apparently been working on making Live Tiles interactive. As you can see in the videos after the break, the experimental tiles expand when touched, showing you its contents right on the Start screen instead of launching the app. For instance, touching the mail app automatically shows a list of your emails in an expanded view, which looks very similar to an Android widget.
That's not all, though: the team has also designed a feature called Desktop Interactive Tile, which lists the programs open on desktop mode, making them easily accessible from the modern UI. This tile can be accessed from the sidebar on desktop mode, as well, providing an easy way to launch programs or attach files to emails. Alas, Microsoft took down the project's page after briefly showcasing it on its website, but not before ZDNet managed to grab a copy of its official description:
This project features an Interactive-Tile UI system that enables users to access and manipulate Live Tiles in an interactive way with touch gestures. Interactive Tile's UI is responsive and flexible to an app's content and function. Users can provide quick input to the Interactive Tile on the Start screen. With a perception of Start as an entrance page, Interactive Tiles were introduced to empower the start screen with an intermediate access level to applications.
As one of the company's experimental ventures, this might not make it to production at all. But if it does, we'd love to see how it'll play with Windows 8.1's upcoming classic Start menu.